In early August of this year, FX President John Landgraf spoke at the Television Critics Association summer press tour and ignited a debate among TV writers and media pundits across the Internet. You may remember seeing the phrase “peak TV” thrown around on Twitter or your favorite news site, which comes directly from Landgraf’s address, when he said both, “there is simply too much television,” and “[m]y sense is that 2015 or 2016 will represent peak TV in America and that we’ll begin to see declines coming the year after that and beyond.” You can read about the immediate reactions to these quotes here and here, as well as some good editorials on the subject from Linda Holmes at NPR, Alan Sepinwall at HitFix, and a panel of writers at The Atlantic. Want something more recent? Mo Ryan wrote just last week about the lack of directorial diversity, especially for women of color, in this peak TV world.Read More
Sitting inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center, I silently waited to see who would be facing off against Curtis Axel, an intentionally delusional wannabe Hulk Hogan. The lights all but went out and some electronic rock reminiscent of early 2000s movie hacking-scene montages began playing from the speakers. A short British man with long, stringy hair and purple tights came out from the backstage area and raised his arms above his head, touching his two index fingers together. I began to furiously cheer as loud as I could, and tapped my friend next to me, ecstatically saying over and over again, “It’s Adrian Neville!” I had, in the parlance of WWE fandom, marked out.Read More
Tonight, MTV’s The Challenge concludes its 26th season. The show, which started in 1998 as the competitive, drunken lovechild of two MTV staples - The Real World and Road Rules - has surpassed its parents to become one of the greatest demonstrations of athletic prowess and drunken antics of all time, and, not to exaggerate, America’s Fifth Greatest Sport. In honor of March Madness, we decided to pit the best of the best against each other to determine the best Challenger.
Often maligned as being “just for kids,” films marketed towards children usually don’t get serious consideration as important works of cinema. For many, a good kids’ movie is one that doesn’t have parents taking a matinee nap, or - more recently a trend - is littered with enough “adult humor” to lend endless DVD loops a modicum of tolerability.
Whether these are current favorites, nostalgic favorites, or just interesting films worth talking about, here are a handful of kids’ movies that the adults at Optimism Vaccine have taken care to give the consideration they deserve. Enjoy!Read More
The September 13, 1984 cover of Rolling Stone features a smirking Huey Lewis holding up one index finger, indicating the premier status of his band’s album Sports on the Billboard charts. Huey Lewis and the News rocketed to international fame because of Sports, and established the band’s long lasting legacy as new age dad rock. Like most musical acts, however, “making it” was never a sure thing.Read More
Bear v. Lions. Cowboys v. Eagles. Seahawks v. 49ers. Horned Frogs v. Longhorns. Throw in a giant feast, a rousing board game, and the inevitable nap, and your entertainment calendar is generally quite full. It's no wonder, then, that Thanksgiving is sparsely represented in the pantheon of Holiday films. But perhaps you reside in an alternate universe where the pigskin is left to rot with the rest of the carcass. Or maybe you're just not the sporting sort. We thought our discerning readers might just be thankful for some alternatives.Read More
Until its last fifteen minutes, Bloodsport is just another bargain bin DVD purchase from your local Big Lots. The martial arting is quite good, and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s physique is certainly something to be marveled, but the movie as a whole is only decently mediocre. The script was likely written by an undergrad in a freshman seminar, and the acting was clearly not the top priority. The movie only exists to as a vehicle for sweet fighting action, but the story’s premise is completely wasted.Read More
Dad Movies is not a genre that showcases great fathers on the silver screen. Often these films may not be about fathers at all. Dad Movies are a cultural phenomenon, an umbrella term for many types of movies that suburban, middle-class, non-intellectual baby boomer fathers enjoyed. These are the films that many of us grew up amongst like second-hand smoke, and likewise consuming while outside the suggested age range.Read More
This week on The OpVac Cast Shawn, Ethan and the Steves celebrate the 20th birthday of The Mask, talk about the found footage film genre, and share our mutual hatred for Zach Braff. Also dick windmills. Check out the stream after the jump cut or download it from iTunes.Read More
As far as I can recall, I’ve only ever watched two seasons of The Real World - Hawaii and New Orleans (the first one). These were consecutive seasons that aired in 1999 and 2000 respectively. I would have placed them later in the 00’s, only because I wouldn’t have guessed that the younger version of myself was at his MTV-iest at ages 10 and 11. I wasn’t even at post-13 “real” teenage years yet. And although I remember watching TRL after coming home from school back then, I didn’t think MTV had left a big impact on me. That is, until I recently became obsessed with The Challenge.Read More
Season 4 of FX’s ambiguously era’ed spy comedy Archer premiered on January 17, 2013 with a pre-title sequence crossover. Sterling Archer is suffering from amnesia and believes he is a humble fry cook running his own hamburger restaurant, Bob’s Burgers, from the Fox comedy Bob’s Burgers. The notable point behind this crossover is the connection between Sterling and Bob- they’re both voiced by H. John Benjamin.Read More
The first few months of a new year are generally a rather bleak time for film lovers of every ilk. Between the spoils of prestige season and the spectacle of the blockbusters lies a graveyard. It's the time of year when a trip to the cinema is most often accompanied by shame and regret. In this spirit, we wanted to give our readers a few examples of films that transcended their 'nothing better to do' ticket purchase, and brought a bit of hope into these last desolate months of winter. Maybe, just maybe, that ticket to 300: Rise of an Empire will be money well spent.Read More
Is The Amazing Spiderman a super hero film high-water mark or just another Green Lantern (Oh god I almost vomited)? While Ethan and I can both agree that Emma Stone is an attractive woman, there isn't much else in the way of common ground on this one. With a sequel forthcoming, it's time to choose sides.Read More
Although we often skirt traditional media coverage here at Optimism Vaccine, we'd be remiss in failing to acknowledge the filmic goodness that was 2013. New offerings from the Coen brothers, Scorsese, Alexander Payne, Alfonso Cuaron, Woody Allen, Thomas Vinterberg, Jonathan Glazer, David O. Russell, Spike Jonze, Steve McQueen, and others made last year one of the strongest of the new millennium for us cinephiles. The sheer depth of quality releases can be a bit daunting, so we figured we'd help our readers out by offering up a few of our favorites from the year that was.Read More
While Optimism Vaccine is by no stretch of the imagination a horror site, several of our authors fancy themselves aficionados of the genre. So, with Halloween drawing near, we thought it would be fun to give you the reader several choices for your holiday viewing. What horrors await? As horror icon Jimmy Buffet might intone over the dissonant drone of steel drums: Disparate voices, disparate choices.Read More